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At what age can ds decide for himself to stop contact?

(15 Posts)
everso Tue 10-Nov-15 19:34:44

He's 12, we are going to court, can he be forced at this age? They haven't seen each other for 4 years and he's petrified. Can I reassure him?

Bellemere Tue 10-Nov-15 22:44:48

The courts will only make an order for no contact if there is a very good reason to do so. Is he a danger to your son?

everso Tue 10-Nov-15 23:37:57

It was mostly emotional abuse and witnessing dv... Ds is adamant he wont see him.

Marilynsbigsister Mon 16-Nov-15 22:49:30

Actually at the age of 12, the child can make his wishes known. There will be a CAFCASS officer at the court. He can state that he does not wish to have contact. It is not the parents 'right' to see the child. It is the child's 'right' to see the parent. Until a child is regarded as mentally competent to make that decision (depends on the child's maturity rather than age but 10 upwards is quite normal)the court will make that decision for them and order the resident parent to 'make the children available' to the other parent at days/times ordered by the court. Once they are considered able to make that decision and understand the consequences of that decision, a child can state that he does not wish to have contact. The court may want a specialist social worker to interview the child and report back to the court. This is because many children say they don't want to see the other parent where there has been a lot of conflict. The child may have been coerced into such a decision either overtly or subconsciously. (Mummy will be very upset if I see daddy - although mummy may never have directly said this to her child) - it's a hard one to call but these guys have seen it all. Good luck !

Bellemere Tue 17-Nov-15 08:06:47

Yes, the child's wishes carry more weight at that age but it is not the determining factor (and it's their ascertainable wishes rather than their expressed wishes) and making an order for no contact is a drastic step for which there is case law. While a child of 12 has a better idea of what they want or need than, say, a 5 year old, they are still far too young to understand the full implications of entirely severing a relationship with a parent.

everso Tue 17-Nov-15 14:27:57

Thanks for your replies, I feel to force him would be incredibly damaging, he is an intelligent boy and his feelings should count for something. We will see.

cestlavielife Tue 17-Nov-15 23:26:21

What is he scared of ?
You could ask for initial contact to be supported by a trained family therapist.as he hadn't seen him for four years.

JellyTotBean Wed 18-Nov-15 10:35:36

They will want to go at a pace that is best for your DC. If he hasn't had any contact for 4 years whatsoever then they're going to want to build it up - especially to a point to where he feels more comfortable.

Does he want any contact? As in would he be open to telephone contact and an exchange of emails to start? Is he just adamant he doesn't want to go or is it due to not seeing him for so long and that he's nervous at what to expect - which is totally understandable.

foolonthehill Fri 20-Nov-15 14:26:18

my eldest stopped contact, they wrote to the judge themselves. Judge said at the age (12) it was up to parent to show consistent love and care within the boundaries that were acceptable to the child/young person and that no action would be taken against me if the child did not go.

Subsequently another child has refused due to experiences there and same has applied. " younger ones still go. In a way I wish older ones were there to supervise but it is their decision.

everso Tue 24-Nov-15 10:38:10

Nothing whatsoever jellytotbean even though dad has always had the option to write, he has chosen not to.

The idea of building up contact still doesnt sit well with me, because it's still forcing ds in a direction he doesnt want to go, he's already met with cafcass and said they were really giving him the 'hard sell', like 'what about if daddy sent you cards, that would be lovely wouldn't it?' And 'you and dad can meet in a safe place with someone there with you supervising, that would be ok wouldn't it?' ... rather leading questions that a child might find it easier to nod in agreement to rather than fight against. He did say 'no' to everything, but their report leans towards restarting contact in a supervised setting, so I presume the Judge will go along with that.

Im predicting a situation where contact is ordered and then Ill be taken back to court for breaching the order when i cant physically pick up my giant son who is bigger than me, and put him in a room with his dad.

foolonthehill thank you for your reply, it gives me a little hope.

everso Tue 24-Nov-15 10:58:37

cestlavie he is scared because dad was so manipulative and unpredictable. He used to come back from contact absolutely emotionaly drained, I would try to protect him from any 'grown up' issues, going along the lines of 'mummy and daddy both love you very much' whereas his dad who was incredibly abusive and violent towards me (mostly not seen by ds) would be telling young ds 'mummy's so nasty, she split up our family, she wont let me come back' and he really seemed to want to make ds feel sorry for him, saying how sad he was, then the next minute he'd be screaming in his face about something minor! So erratic.

He's really horrible, but I've always tried to put a positive front on for ds's sake, because I always thought it was better for a child to have both parents around. However since contact stopped ds has been so much happier and less 'troubled', his behaviour at home and school is like a different boy now, he's just lovely and his confidence has increased so much.
I think in our situation it would really negatively affect him to have to deal with his dad again.

I have told cafcass all this, but it has been mostly ignored.

cestlavielife Tue 24-Nov-15 12:03:12

You going to have to find a way to push some form of supervised contact eg given the time apart ds agrees to see dad only in context of family therapy sessions with trained facilitator.

Ds needs tools to deal with dad as he is 12 but judge may side with dad.

My dd now 15 doesn't see dad and this supported by ss. From 14/15 they listened to more.

Ypur ds may be listened too but it depends how dad presents. So have up your sleeve a willingness to have contact only with trained family therapist so ds gets listened to and supported.

cestlavielife Tue 24-Nov-15 12:04:29

Also see what counsellors at school etc . Persuade ds to talk to someone professional so they record his fears.

cestlavielife Tue 24-Nov-15 12:08:14

And dont tell him how dad feels. ..you don't know. ... if court insists on contact get the professional support in place. Family therapy was great for dds.

cestlavielife Tue 24-Nov-15 12:10:34

You can't control judge s decision but you can put case for family therapy support and you can let ds know he will be supported . And if he has to go thru meeting with dad for few months to see how it goes that is a decision out of ypur hands but he can
then tell counsellor or therapist or someone at school. So he may have to go thru with it on a trial basis.

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